Daily Times Herald's Ann Wilson named citizen of the year
Firemen, SalonTief, Coon Rapids leader, local priest also earn honors
Carroll Daily Times Herald co-owner and general manager Ann Wilson Monday earned the Carroll Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year honors for a combination of local, statewide and national civic involvement.
Ann Wilson (left) accepts the Citizen of the Year award during Monday’s night’s Carroll Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet held at the Carrollton Centre. Presenting the award was 2012 recipient, Jim Pedelty (right).
Wilson, 71, joins her brother, newspaper publisher James B. Wilson, and their late father, James W. Wilson, as recipients of the award. Ann Wilson is the 50th person to receive the award and the fourth woman. Eileen Smith, Mary N. Baumhover and Cathy Greteman received the honor.
About 300 people attended the Chamber banquet Monday night in which several other area residents earned honors for 2012. Longtime economic development advocate Doug Carpenter of Coon Rapids received the Good Neighbor Award for his tireless advocacy of the full county. The Carroll Volunteer Fire Department earned the Public Service Award for its 138 years of community involvement. Father Timothy Johnson, pastor at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, received the Humanitarian Service Award. The Carroll Daily Times Herald, which traces its roots to 1868, received the Heritage Business Award. SalonTief, 414 E. Sixth St., earned the New Business Award.
Carroll realtor Mike Franey, president of Mid-Iowa Real Estate, who emceed the event, said the awards collectively reflect on a strong, progressive community.
"Most importantly, people around here, they just care," Franey said.
Former Carroll Mayor Jim Pedelty, the winner of the Citizen of the Year award last year, introduced Wilson.
"I think the committee made an excellent choice this year," Pedelty said.
Pedelty said that in spite of newspaper ownership the work Wilson accomplished has largely been behind the scenes, with great effectiveness and little fanfare.
"It's been quiet but getting-the-job-done," Pedelty said.
Pedelty said Wilson is helping to manage a highly successful newspaper that gives Carroll County a strong voice statewide and nationally.
"In an era when many papers have been cutting back and reducing staff and output, the award-winning Carroll Daily Times Herald is an exception," Pedelty said. "It keeps growing."
As she listened to Pedelty's remarks, Wilson said she focused on the generations of her family involved in Iowa newspapering.
"Thoughts went back years and years ago when I got my first adult job and some advice that my father gave me at that time," Ann Wilson said. "He said, 'It doesn't matter in what community you find yourself, you will find that most people take more from a community than they give back. It's essential to give back. Use your talents and your time to do so.'"
A 1959 Carroll High School alum, Wilson, a daughter of James W. and Constance Wilson, graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She taught elementary school in Jefferson and Des Moines and for a time served as president of the Indianola School Board before moving back to Carroll 34 years ago following the death of her father.
Pedelty cited a number of accomplishments and community involvement in presenting Wilson with the award. They are as follows:
- General manager and co-owner of Daily Times Herald; newspaper has been in family since 1929.
- Co-owner of Jefferson Bee & Herald - negotiated purchase of paper from Morain family in 2012. Working to build alliances between Greene and Carroll counties for economic development through the newspapers.
- Carroll-area representative on the Heartland Area Education Agency since 1985. President and vice president on many occasions. The AEA serves children with disabilities from birth to age 21, handles professional development for teachers and administrators and media services for schools. Heartland serves 53 public schools and 26 accredited non-public schools in 11 counties - including the Kuemper Catholic School System and Carroll Community School District.
- Friends of Iowa Public Television. Served as president of the statewide organization to support public television.
- Iowa Newspaper Foundation president. Serves on scholarship committee.
- Earned Iowa Newspaper Association Master Editor-Publisher Award.
- Chairman of Visioning Committee for City of Carroll. Worked to beautify roadways and entrances to the city.
- First female president of the Carroll Country Club.
- Secretary of West Central Iowa Habitat for Humanity.
- Treasurer of the Carroll-based Bill Evans Foundation. Named in honor of the former educator, the Evans Foundation assists children in a variety of fashions.
- Helped start a new PEO chapter in Carroll and served as president of that group.
- Worked on get-out-the-vote (GOTV) committees for local bond issues and referendums benefitting the city and school district, including the Corridor of Commerce, fire station, library, new high school and middle school.
- Served as Carroll County chair for the Obama presidential campaign in 2008. Worked closely with the Obama campaign in 2008 caucuses and general election as well as the 2012 general election. Staff members resided free of charge at Wilson's home for presidential campaigns including: Bill Bradley, Howard Dean and President Barack Obama.
- Served as a Cub Scout and Brownie leader.
- Served on committees of First United Methodist Church in Carroll.
- Co-chaired the popular Festival of Trees at the Methodist Church.
- In Indianola, Wilson helped resettle four young Vietnamese men in Iowa during the 1970s. One of the men considers Ann to be his "American mom" and named his eldest daughter, Annie, after her. Wilson has continued to be an outspoken advocate of diversity of Carroll.
"I treasure my family and the friends I've made along the way," Wilson said. "I'm grateful for challenges I've met and the opportunities I've had to work for people and for projects rather than against them."
Frank Hermsen, retired leader at New Hope Village, presented Holy Spirit pastor Father Timothy Johnson with the Humanitarian Service Award.
Hermsen noted that Johnson fit the dictionary definition of a humanitarian as he is concerned "wholly with the welfare of the human race." In fact, the Chamber had to jump the award in the sequence so Johnson could leave early to preside over a wake.
Johnson also serves as pastor at St. Mary Parish in Willey.
According to Hermsen, one person involved in the award said of Johnson: "He is the most-caring and understanding person I have ever met."
Johnson has been with Holy Spirit and St. Mary since 2008.
Johnson grow up in Wesley where his dad managed a cooperative. Johnson graduated from Algona Garrigan in 1975 and then the University of Northern Iowa where he studied social work and law enforcement.
He spent two years in the Peace Corps in Sierre Leone, three years as a correctional officer at a facility in Waterloo and then did a stint as a substance-abuse counselor in Maquoketa.
"The Peace Corps is where I really regained my Catholic strength," Johnson said.
He attended seminary at St. John University in Collegeville, Minn., and was ordained in 1993.
Johnson has served the church in a number of communities, including Sioux City, Remsen and Fort Dodge.
An avid reader (something he developed in the Peace Corps in the absence of electronic diversions) Johnson has decorated his office with a painting of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indians, a historical figure Johnson admires for his deep concern for Native Americans and attempts at peaceful resolutions in the 19th century conflicts between Indian tribes and the United States.
Johnson has done some mission work with Native Americans in South Dakota.
"I'm very humbled by this award," Johnson said. "I'm very privileged to be in Carroll."
He added, "I always judge where I'm at by how much I feel at home."
Johnson urged chamber members to make Carroll not only prosperous but hospitable.
Carroll Attorney Barry Bruner, a member of the Carroll Area Development Corp., presented Coon Rapids community leader Doug Carpenter with the Good Neighbor Award.
Bruner said the award is his favorite category in the banquets because it rewards people who have long track records of bringing communities in the area together.
"Basically, if anything in his community was needed, they looked to him and he got it done," Bruner said of Carpenter.
Carpenter, 68, a 1961 graduate of Coon Rapids High School, Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and the Air Force Institute of Technology, moved back to the community in 2004 after more than 40 years away. Carpenter served in the Air Force, retiring at a lieutenant colonel. He also worked as a program manager for the Federal Aviation Administration.
In Coon Rapids, Carpenter has served as president of that city's economic development group. He's been involved with the Carroll Area Development Corp., Coon Rapids Great Places and congregate meals in addition to a variety of other volunteer endeavors.
"It's a real privilege to receive this award," Carpenter said.
Carpenter said he firmly believes Carroll is one of the more progressive, dynamic and successful counties in Iowa, and he urged banquet attendees to double down their efforts so Carroll counties to build such a brand.
R.T. Schreck, a vice president of Iowa Savings Bank, presented the Carroll Volunteer Fire Department with the Public Service Award. Schreck, the brother of longtime Carroll Fire Chief Greg Schreck, said the department started in 1875 as a hook-and-ladder company. Today, its members join the ranks of the best-trained firefighters in the nation, he said. Besides battling fires, the department helps with traffic control at local events, works with downtown Christmas decorations and promotes fire prevention in the schools and other venues.
Greg Schreck said the department, with its volunteer status, relies heavily on the support of the firemen's families and employers.
"There's a lot of companies there that are part of a successful volunteer fire department," Schreck said.
There are 35 members of the Carroll Volunteer Fire Department. They are as follows: Schreck, Jeremy Heinrichs, Dick Henrich, Chuck Walsh, Brian Bellinghausen, Andy Reiman, Dave Schroer, Brad Ruhnke, Mark Werner, Gary Tiefenthaler, Jason Wittrock, B.J. Schreck, Jeff Helmkamp, Jamie Wuebker, Pat Venteicher, Adam Dentlinger, Scott Knowler, Kurt Lux, Jeff Warnke, Brad Warnke, Marty Vanderheiden, Chad Ross, Dan Hannasch, Ken Murray, Bob Schwerzler, Jeremy Demers, Bill Gross, Josh Hamilton, Jeff Cullen, Bob Shields, Mike Bach, Nathan Nagl, Steve Sundermann, Tim Schulz and Jon Schreck.
Carroll Broadcasting general manager Kim Hackett presented the 2012 New Business Award to SalonTief co-owners Collin and Beth Tiefenthaler of rural Carroll.
The business opened in late 2010 and has seen outstanding growth since, Hackett said.
Hackett said the business is a "perfect example" of how Carroll continues to grow.
"They cater to making you feel special and beautiful," Hackett said.
Beth Tiefenthaler accepted the award.
"I can't believe you kept it a secret," she joked. "At a salon everyone knows everything."
Former Iowa Lt. Gov. and Carroll Mayor Art Neu, a longtime friend of the Wilson family, presented the Heritage Business Award to the newspaper with a history dating 145 years - 84 of them with the Wilson family.
Neu noted that the Daily Times Herald is the largest daily newspaper in the state of Iowa with local family ownership.
"The Herald just purchased the Jefferson Bee & Herald and has been operating those newspapers for several months now," Neu said. "At a time when newspapers across the country are struggling, the Times Herald is thriving and actually expanding."
Neu said it is a tremendous asset for a community of Carroll's size to have its own daily newspaper, especially one that covers Carroll-area counties aggressively.
"It also provides an interesting mix of opinion on its editorial page to make us all think just a little bit more about government statewide and locally," Neu said.
On Sept. 8, 1868, the first issue of the Western Herald appeared on the streets of Carroll. The paper was started by O.H. Manning, a business and professional leader who later became lieutenant governor of Iowa.
In March 1871, the name of the weekly paper was changed to the Carroll Herald.
A second paper, The Sentinel, appeared in 1880 and was made the organ of the Democratic Party.
Another paper, the Carroll Times was started in 1897 as the outgrowth of differences arising within the ranks of the party.
The Times won out over the Sentinel, and in 1911 the Sentinel assets were sold to both the Herald and the Times. The Times and the Herald continued to be separate publications for many years.
James Rhodes of Newton purchased the Herald on May 1, 1929 and named James W. Wilson, then advertising manager for the Newton Daily News, as the Herald's business manager and acting head of the Carroll property.
A banner headline on Nov. 7, 1929 announced the "Carroll Herald Goes Daily," and the newspaper adopted the slogan "The Only Daily Newspaper in an Inland Empire of Eight Counties."
The daily Herald won the circulation battle with the weekly Times, and in 1936 the Herald Publishing Company purchased the Times, and the mechanical plants of the two newspapers were combined. They continued as separate publications for some five years before they were combined into the Daily Times Herald.
Rhodes died in January 1944, and James W. Wilson purchased the Rhodes estate interest later that year. He owned and operated the paper until his death in 1977.
James B. Wilson joined the newspaper operation in 1967 and became publisher after the death of his father. Ann Wilson became general manager of the paper in 1984.
The third generation of the family, Douglas and Tom Burns, are now involved in the newspaper, Douglas in the news department and Tom in advertising sales. Their great-grandfather Silas Wilson served as editor and co-publisher of the Albia Union Republican, making the family four generations deep into Iowa journalism.